OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Khris Davis hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth and connected again leading off the eighth, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 to open the season Monday night.
Davis notched just the second multihomer game on opening day in Oakland history — Jason Giambi did it in 2000 — to back Kendall Graveman (1-0). The right-hander struck out seven over six innings.
Mike Trout hit a two-run homer in the third inning for the Angels, then Yonder Alonso’s RBI single in the fifth tied it at 2.
Davis, who dealt with a sore quadriceps muscle leading up to the opener, connected first against Angels starter Ricky Nolasco (0-1) then JC Ramirez for his 12th career multihomer game. The slugger didn’t hit his first home run last season until April 21 then finished with a career-high 42.
Davis earned himself a $5 million contract by beating the A’s in arbitration. He batted .247 for a second straight year with career highs in homers and with 102 RBIs in his first season in Oakland.
Stephen Vogt also homered to support Graveman, who allowed two runs and six hits pitching in place of ace Sonny Gray, who is nursing a lat strain and missed his second straight scheduled opening-day start. He had food poisoning last year.
Ryan Dull struck out the side in the seventh. Sean Doolittle retired the first two batters in the eighth before Ryan Madson relieved and allowed a double to Trout. Santiago Casilla, who blew nine saves in 2016 and was demoted as Giants closer, finished for his first save to begin his second stint with Oakland.
Manager Bob Melvin hadn’t revealed who would close the first game. Casilla pounded his pitching hand into his glove to celebrate after the final out.
Speedy Rajai Davis, the AL stolen bases leader last season with Cleveland, was amped up in his return for a second stint with the A’s. He made a nice catch at the wall on a deep fly by Albert Pujols in the sixth.
RICKEY HENDERSON FIELD
Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson used to sneak into the Coliseum as a boy when he had no money to buy tickets. Now, the diamond carries his name, “Rickey Henderson Field” — formally unveiled Monday.
“My heart and soul is forever Oakland,” he told the crowd. “I love you, Oakland.”
Henderson walked in from center field in a grand entrance. He received a rousing ovation and chants of “Rickey!” then walked down the line shaking every A’s hand. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“It’s a great honor,” said Henderson, a special assistant to new President Dave Kaval. “When I was growing up in Oakland as a kid, playing in the parks around the ballpark, I had no idea that this chance would ever come in baseball. The first thing was me getting the opportunity to play for the Oakland A’s and being from Oakland. And now this has happened, so this is just a special great moment.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia approved.
“I think it’s perfect,” he said. “That’s awesome.”
BUD NORRIS DEAL
By making the Angels’ opening-day roster, right-hander Bud Norris earns a $1.75 million, one-year contract. It includes $2.5 million in performance bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for eight and 12; $500,000 apiece for 16, 20, 24 and 28; and $1 million based on relief appearances: $250,000 each for 30 and 40; $500,000 for 60.
Angels: Reliever Huston Street will begin a throwing program Tuesday as he nurses a strained back.
Athletics: Gray is close to test himself by throwing off the mound, likely later this week.
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker makes his first start exactly seven months after being struck in the right side of the head by a line drive at Seattle on Sept. 4 and requiring surgery to stop bleeding on his brain.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea takes the ball after making his first opening day roster, 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in two career starts against the Angels.